Montheith in New Zealand brew some wonderful beers, and this is one, a single source lager, is still a top-shelf beer. The single source refers to knowing exactly where the hops and barley come from, down to a single source production, making this beer unique and consistent.
The bottle is a majestic design of simplicity and crispness, with a delightful vertical stripe (or horizontal stripe, depending on your drunken state) running the length of the bottle. It is monochromatic and not overly fussy. On the back of the bottle they have their hops source and barley source growers signing the latitude and longitude of the paddock where the hops and barley was grown, for this beer. The hops come from Ian Thom at -41.206916 172.864298, the barley comes from Bill Davey at -43.7293399 171.9416632 degrees. Where as the beer comes together, signed by Tony Mercer in their brewery at -42.453888 171.207066 degrees. Fantastic!
What a golden yellow this beer is. It has a reasonable initial head, due in part to the high carbonation that the lager has, and the head is dissipating quicker than an ale, but not as rapid as most lagers. You get a lot of the carbon dioxide bubbles attaching to the glass (technically known as glassybubblification).
Aromas from this lager are strong and crisp. Hops and malt shoot out of the glass in an orgy of fighter jets and fireworks. There are not many of the citrus aromas that I would associate to this type of beer, much to my pleasure, instead there are rolling fields of wheat, and cool glacial lakes. This is more of a feeling rather than an aroma.
Then you taste it. You get the shooting of the fighter jets, initially on your tongue, the malt and the crisp taste comes through instantly. With all this build up, there is a disappointing lack of body to the lager and the middle flavours feel and taste watery and lacking in character. However, the hops take over in the aftertaste with a big bass drum of a taste which give a slight bitterness and much hop flavour to the lager. There is a flavour in there that I cannot quite put my finger on, like wood and sandy beaches, this lager finishes up with an exit as strong as it’s entrance.
Summary. This lager has been cared for. There are crisp and bold initial and after taste hits of barley and hops, mixed together in a smooth and rolling lager. Slightly disappointed at the lack of middle tastes and body, as there are so many strong flavours which are slightly let down by the middle tastes. Still a great lager though.